Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on 17 January confirmed that the Government plans to reach agreement with the EU for the UK to withdraw fully from EU membership, ie there is to be no partial or associate membership.
On exit, the European Communities Act 1972 will be repealed and, at the same time, applicable EU law will be converted into domestic law. Most EU Directives are already implemented in the UK by regulations or Acts of Parliament. Therefore, employment laws are not expected to change as a result of Brexit, but afterwards will be subject to Parliament's control over domestic law.
A significant consequence of the UK's full exit from the EU is the removal of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over UK law. The final court of appeal will be the Supreme Court. The jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights is unaffected by Brexit.
In terms of timescales, Theresa May aims for the agreement with the EU to be concluded by the end of the two-year period after notice is given under art.50 of the Treaty on European Union of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. There will be a "phased process of implementation" after the two-year period to allow time to prepare for the new arrangements. The negotiated agreement between the UK and the EU will be subject to a vote in both Houses of Parliament before it comes into force.
The Government has published the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which is progressing through Parliament. Under the Bill, the Prime Minister is authorised to give notice under art.50 of the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU. The Government expects that the Bill will come into effect in time for the Prime Minister to invoke art.50 by 31 March 2017. The publication of the Bill follows the Supreme Court ruling that an Act of Parliament is required to authorise ministers to give notice under art.50.
The Government has also published a White Paper: The United Kingdom's exit from and new partnership with the European Union. The White Paper sets out the basis for the Government's priorities and broad strategy for the UK's agreement with the EU, including employment and immigration.
On a full exit from the EU, the UK will not be subject to the EU's free movement principles. The extent to which immigration and travel is permitted by nationals of EU member states will be subject to negotiation. The Government is currently seeking a reciprocal agreement with other EU member states to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain and the rights of British nationals in other member states and views this as a priority.
We will continue to provide guidance as the situation develops.
Available on demand
Our Brexit - what now for HR? webinar on what Brexit means for UK employment law and the steps you can take to prepare for the HR aspects of running a business outside the EU.
- What impact will Brexit have on employment law?
- What impact will Brexit have on EU nationals currently working in the UK?
Policies and documents
Audio and video
- Webinar: Managing international assignments in an uncertain world
- Webinar: Brexit - what now for HR? In this webinar, Darren Newman and Annabel Mace discuss what Brexit means for UK employment law, the impact of the leave vote on the immigration status of non-UK EU nationals living and working in the UK and what you can do now to prepare for the UK's exit from the EU.
- Podcast 1: Potential employment law implications of a Brexit In the first of our special podcasts recorded before the referendum, Nicky Stibbs explains how EU employment law is incorporated into UK employment law, including what role is currently played by the European Court of Justice. Nicky also looks at the areas of UK employment law that might be in the firing line.
- Podcast 2: The possible impact of a Brexit In the second of our special podcasts recorded before the referendum, Darren Newman discusses possible employment law implications of a majority vote in favour of leaving the EU, including how to manage concerns of EU employees who are worried about job security.
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- How to reassure staff after the Brexit vote
- How will Brexit affect employers with EEA workers?
- How does Brexit affect international assignments?
- Brexit: Might the Government's grip on trade unions get tighter?
- What might happen to TUPE now the UK has left Europe?
- EU referendum: how to get ready for a potential Brexit
- The possible impact of leaving the EU on UK employment law
- EU referendum: 12 European cases that have shaped UK employment law
- EU referendum: no excuse to put off data protection preparations
Commentary and analysis
- Theresa May's Brexit speech: what will it mean for employment?
- EU citizens working in the UK: will the Government listen to employers' wishes?
- Could "associate EU citizenship" become a worthwhile employee perk?
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- Brexit to bring tighter controls on immigration, May confirms
- Brexit debate: Government gives no guarantees on worker rights
- Brexit: Labour's 170 questions include the future of employment law
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- Brexit vote will cause widespread hiring freeze
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